Last week, I tried out another digital card game, Eternal. In the vein of my last similar post, comparing Hearthstone with Shadowverse, I will now try to do the same and compare Hearthstone with Eternal. The goal of this post is to expose players of Hearthstone and other digital card games to Eternal, if they are hesitant to starting the game. As mentioned, I just started playing Eternal, so I am likely covering very basic things, and nothing advanced in Eternal.
What is Eternal?
Eternal is a digital card game, released in November 2016 by Dire Wolf Digital, maker of other games like TES: Legends, and the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online. Dire Wolf Digital states on Twitter that it is an “independent game studio,” so they actually are a small indie company.
The real comparison
I’ll be honest, there are a lot of fundamental differences between Hearthstone and Eternal. It is a bit like when Gwent first hit the scene, and a lot of people want to pit the games together or were taking sides. They are very different games.
The same applies here, Eternal is a bit different because it employs the blocking mechanic. Coupled with resource generation through colored cards, the natural comparison to Eternal should be Magic the Gathering. A longer time ago, I compared Hearthstone with Magic Duels. Magic Duels has since become derelict content-wise. If I knew more about Magic, I could do something deeper. But Hearthstone is what I have played longer, and can make more points with.
Key differences between the games
- Hearthstone has 9 different classes, distinguished by class cards and the 2-mana cost Hero Power. A deck is made up of class cards and neutrals.
- Eternal is more like Magic, as there are 5 colors/classes, with multicolor/class cards, and colorless cards. You can play a deck with just 1 color/class or all of them. The hero you use is just a chosen avatar of a card, and has no special abilities or bearing on gameplay.
- Fire (Red) – Aggressive color with cheap cards, and damage dealing. Has themes of machines, Western outlaws, and fire.
- Justice (Green) – The Paladin class, with big buffs and weapons. Has themes of knights, honor, and armor.
- Tribal (Blue) – Elemental energy class, specifically focusing on lightning and ice. Has themes of Shamanism, flyers, and animals.
- Shadow (Purple) – Your dark magic class, with life drain and resurrection effects. Has themes cultists, witches, and all-purpose bad guys.
- Time (Yellow) – A somewhat unique class that manipulates time, bounces stuff and silences stuff. Has themes of the Middle East, elementals, and mystique.
- Strangers (Multicolor) – Multicolor cards are typically called Strangers, as they don’t belong to a faction. They are typically better than your regular one-color card, but don’t fit in unless you’ve built your deck that way.
- In Hearthstone, you gain 1 mana crystal each turn.
- In Eternal, you play Sigils, which are basically Lands in Magic. Your Sigils either are 1 of the 5 colors, or are multicolored. Your opening hand Sigil to card balance is big in determining how the game will go.
- In Hearthstone, your taunt minions are the closest thing to blocking, but it is always mandatory. Every attack has an option to hit into a minion or the opposing hero.
- In Eternal, your units are going face automatically, when you declare an attack. Your opponent then selects their units, which would block attacks from your units. Blocking is incredibly strategic, as you can assign anywhere from none to all of your units to block. Additionally, multiple units can block one unit. This blocking mechanic is almost identical to Magic the Gathering.
Unit healing and exhaustion
- The counterpart of having a blocking mechanic is exhaustion. If your unit attacks one turn, it cannot be used to block during your opponent’s move for offense.
- Also, units in Eternal heal themselves after the end of a turn.
- In Hearthstone, weapons are equipped to the hero. They have an attack and durability. During your turn, the weapon is unsheathed, and can use a charge. On your opponent’s turn, the weapon is sheathed and cannot be activated (except for Misdirection situations). Weapons can attack hero or minion.
- In Eternal, “Relic Weapons” are the hero weapon, while regular “Weapon” are buffs for units. Relic Weapon come with an attack and durability, except the durability is considered armor, which can be destroyed, rendering the weapon broken. Attacking into a unit, or getting hit by a unit will degrade the weapon. Relic weapons must attack units before the enemy hero. Weapon enchantments for units are basically spells, and don’t really have a durability factor.
Secrets are more secret
- In Hearthstone, 3 classes have secrets, which are set with your turn mana.
- In Eternal, “Fast Spells,” are like Instants, which can be activated from the hand. These combat tricks either affect units, deal damage, or negate activations. You must have leftover energy to play a fast spell. So having leftover energy could either mean you can’t afford stuff from the hand, saving something for later, or are setting up a fast spell.
Bouncing is less effective
- In Hearthstone, returning a minion to the hand or deck will remove all buffs granted to the card.
- In Eternal, units retain all of their buffs forever.
- Some keywords just exist since Eternal is a blocking game. Endurance is a keyword that lets a unit not be exhausted after attacking. Flying exists, which makes a unit only blockable by other flyers.
- There are a few other keywords that exist in Eternal. Aegis is a shield that allows a unit protection from 1 spell/unit targeted effect. Infiltrate is an ability/effect that occurs when a unit attacks the hero for the first time. Killer is an ability that lets a unit apply damage to an enemy unit, without attacking. Quickdraw is a conditional ability that lets a unit kill another enemy unit without losing health. Destiny allows a unit to be played for free when it is drawn, and allow another draw.
- Hearthstone’s Ranked system has the ranked floors for every 5 ranks, and then Legend. You move up and down stars between each tier.
- Eternal’s Ranked system is more like that of other digital card games, where you move up and down a points bar, and you get promoted after filling the bar. Compared to Shadowverse though, losses are more punishing in Eternal.
- Eternal has a Gauntlet mode, which now makes sense, given it is the same company that made TES: Legends. But you play a constructed deck in an elimination mode against 7 enemies.
- Hearthstone has Arena, where you draft 30 picks, picking 1 out of 3 cards each time. You play until you get 12 wins or 3 losses.
- Eternal has two limited modes, Forge for PvE, and Draft for PvP. Both end at 7 wins or 2 losses. Forge is more similar to Hearthstone arena, in that you draft 25 cards, and 1 out of 3 cards. You are limited to 2 classes/colors, which are picked from your first picks in the draft.
- PvP Draft mode is unique. First, you pick cards out of simulated packs, which gives you an option of 1 out of 12 cards to begin with. This pack dwindles to a smaller amount, until you start picking out of a new pack. Then, out of 48 cards, you dwindle that to 45 cards.
- Hearthstone packs cost 100 gold, which contains 5 cards, and additional value in disenchanting.
- Eternal packs cost 1000 gold, which contains 12 cards, is guaranteed 100 crafting resource, and additional value in disenchanting.
- Eternal has a Gem resource, which is the “p2w resource.”
- Eternal Forges cost 2500 gold, but in addition to the winning prizes, you get to keep all 25 cards you draft. The same is applied to Draft, except in a much bigger scale, as you pay 5000 gold for entry.
- Eternal Gauntlet is free, and appears to be the best resource-generating valve for players.
- Quests are more generous in Eternal, as you are given many packs for quests and first wins. You can even win preconstructed decks in some quests.